Paul Johnson | 17 May 2016 16:24pm
I have to confess to never having watched the original TV series of Heartbeat but, after discovering the popular ITV show ran for an incredible 18 series with an average audience of 15 million, I happily hang my head in shame.
Set in 1960s rural Yorkshire in the sleepy village of Ashfordly, Heartbeat is centred around the village bobby, a role originally played by Nick Berry of EastEnders fame. It’s not quite the killer hot-spot of Midsomer Murders but there’s always something going on; think more along the lines of ITV’s answer to Last of the Summer Wine… with policemen.
The stage adaptation currently touring the UK replicates the style of the TV show and features a couple of regulars (David Lonsdale and Steven Blakeley) as well as the Aidensfield Arms pub (which slickly revolves to reveal several other village scenes)… oh, and plenty of popular tunes from the era.
The only real downside, apart from the dismal Monday night audience turnout at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre (20% full) was that, like most other TV-to-stage-adaptations, you really needed to know what you’re watching beforehand. These ‘plays’ are never written as a normal drama would be meaning characters are not introduced and developed. Instead the reliance on popularity is paramount. Just look at the (popular) stage adaptations of Dad’s Army; would these be funny if we didn’t know upon who the characters were based?
Despite this plenty of the Bromley faithful did indeed recognise their Yorkshire surroundings on press night and even afforded the brace of TV personalities a welcoming round of applause upon their respective entrances (Dotty Otley style).
The plot has been specially written for the tour and is a pretty tame one – as you might expect, despite the suggestion of the IRA, the Special Branch, and a gangster arriving in the village as well as a bomb in the pub jukebox. Needless to say our bobbies save the day.
- : admin
- : 16/05/2016